RR vs SRH: Hits and Flops as Manish Pandey puts Royals to sword

Mayank Kumar

Mayank Kumar

Author| Oct 22, 6:26 PM

Image: IPL/Twitter
Image: IPL/Twitter

Both the Sunrisers Hyderabad and the Rajasthan Royals were looking desperately for a win to keep their campaign on track but Manish Pandey found his best touch just when the Sunrisers were in dire straits and guided the team to a dominating win over the Royals in a crucial clash of the Indian Premier League 2020.

Here we are dissecting the best and the worst performances of the match.


Manish Pandey

Manish Pandey had walked out to bat in the very first over after Jofra Archer had taken away David Warner and soon followed it up with the wicket of Jonny Bairstow in his next over. Having lost two of their biggest match-winners, the Sunrisers needed Manish Pandey to fire with the bat and justify his ascendency to the number three slot in the batting order. Pandey was not to miss out today as he looked full of intent and purpose and started taking on the Royals’ bowlers from the word go.

Smith introduced Kartik Tyagi in the fourth over and he provided Pandey with the opportunity to cut loose by giving two short and wide balls which Pandey accepted gleefully. By the next over, Pandey was in the groove and when Ben Stokes erred on the line, he was dismissed from his presence by Pandey who slapped him for two sixes, and all of a sudden, the Sunrisers were back with all the momentum which Archer had taken away early on. Tyagi’s agonies continued as Pandey got stuck into him in his next over, smashing him for a couple of sixes and a four.

Pandey remained unbeaten on a 47-ball-83 and stitched a match-winning partnership of 140 runs from only 97 balls with Vijay Shankar. The SRH’s team management had decided to bank on Pandey to bat at the number three position and the move was under critics’ eyes as he was batting above Kane Williamson in the past games but Pandey showed his calls and temperament just when it mattered the most for the men in orange and somehow justified his elevation to the top of the order.

Vijay Shankar

Vijay Shankar has been quite an infamous name in Indian cricket but on the night against the Rajasthan Royals, he could do no wrong and rather ended up enhancing his reputation as a reliable player both with the bat and bowl in hand. Shankar was impressive in bowling and showed impeccable discipline in line and length. His discipline and lack of loose balls paid off as in search of quick runs, Jos Buttler tried to force the issue by walking at him and ended up spooning the ball to the backward point fielder.

He was assigned the role of the frontline batsman as well as he walked out to bat only in the third over of the innings after the dismissal of Jonny Bairstow. He played a white ball inning of old-school style to support Manish Pandey who was going berserk at the other end. He was quick to assess the role he had to play and did exactly that by hanging in there, albeit with a strike rate near 100 but for the larger context of the game and for the SRH’s benefits, his stay at the crease was important as Manish Pandey was going all guns blazing to keep the required run-rate under control.

He wasn’t shy of showing class though and struck Jofra Archer for three back-to-back fours and stamped his authority on the game showing that he is no mug with the bat and that he was playing a role of a batsman showing subdued shot-making by choice looking at the larger prize to be won for his team.

Jason Holder

Jason Holder was in the news even before he made his IPL 2020 debut and when Kane Williamson was ruled out of the game against the Rajasthan Royals, he got an opportunity to make news on the pitch as well. 

Holder is a true all-round cricketer and he showed every bit of it in the first innings when he fielded superbly in his follow-through in the first over he was bowling and hit the wickets to see the back of Robin Uthappa who was looking in an excellent knick. His best was yet to come as the Windies captain returned in the 12th over of the Royals’ batting with a beauty of an off-cutter to better Sanju Samson. 

Holder was not done for the day and he was tasked to the hard yards of the final overs when Warner asked him to come in the 19th over. He outsmarted Steve Smith who was sitting back in the crease with the expectation of yorker and Holder pitched a ball fuller and Smith was caught lagging in footwork to power the ball over long-on boundary and was caught at the boundary line. Holder was too good for Riyan Paraga in the same over as well and the right armer ended his first active night at the IPL 2020 with an impressive figure of 33/3 from his four overs.


Steve Smith

The Rajasthan Royals must have had great expectations of Steve Smith before the IPL 2020 had begun but it looks like he will be one of the prominent flop shows of this year’s event. The team needed to win against the Sunrisers to keep the winning journey continued after a resurgent win against the Chennai Super Kings in the last game. 

Smith batted very lower down the order, in a move that looked like a correction to his strategy of slotting all the best batsman of the team at the top of the order but he failed to shine through even at the lower middle order. He never got going in his usual style apart from a handful of shots that went in the direction he intended them to go. His misery was ended by Holder in the 19th over and it made sure that the Royals did not have the score to run away with the game with the pressure of a required run rate over Sunrisers’ batsmen.

Smith is considered as one of the finest readers of the modern game but he has been exposed by some glaring mistakes in this season of the IPL. After facing severe criticism for not bowling Archer against AB de Villiers in the match against the RCB, Smith may have missed another trick by not bowling Archer for his third over in the power play. It may not have worked but the rhythm Archer was in and the frailties of Pandey against the pace and movement could well have been exposed. The Royals anyway did not have enough score on the board to contain the Sunrisers batting line up and only wickets could have saved the night for them. But, Captain Smith had other ideas and sadly for the Royals, it was not a good idea at all.

Ben Stokes

Ben Stokes has been looking like a pale shadow of a cricketer he is known as in the world of cricket. The Royals were dreaming big before his arrival in the tournament about the much-needed stability that he promises to offer every side he plays with but so far in this season, both he and the Royals team management have been looking for the real Stokes to rise through a deep slumber.

Unlike the last games, Stokes stayed on the pitch for a bit longer period of time but that was not good enough for the team as his 32-ball-30 rather put batsman like Sanju Samson under immense pressure to cultivate shots on balls that deserved respect.

There is belief about Stokes that if he is not clicking with the bat, invariably, he will fail with the ball too and it was evident against the Royals as the English all-rounder was taken to the cleaners by Manish Pandey who made no exemptions to his reputations of being one of the finest cricketer going around in the international cricket.

It looks like the RR team management is carrying all the international; stars for the reputation they hold in international cricket and the strategy is providing counterproductive for both the team and the star players. 

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  • Manish Pandey
  • Jason Holder
  • Vijay Shankar
  • Ben Stokes
  • Steve Smith
  • Jofra Archer
  • Jos Buttler
  • RR
  • SRH
  • IPL 2020
  • Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai

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